Profiting by the immense reputation which Sufis have as
teachers of special insight, a group of robbers settled in an
abandoned monastery on a highway, pretending to be Sufi
Nasrudin and his small son were traveling on a long journey
when they were espied by a lookout man among the robbers.
They immediately started to carry out a rhythmic dance, with
a great deal of noise.
As they approached, Nasrudin said to his son, ‘Night will
fall soon, and this seems to be a monastery of advanced
dervishes. Let us seek their hospitality.’
The false dervishes welcomed them heartily, and even
asked the Mulla to join their special exercises. These took
the form of a rapid circular movement, with the repetition
of phrases which were changed from time to time by the
Presently Nasrudin was whirling with the best of them,
taking up the repetitious cries and in a near-hysterical frame
of mind. Now the leader of the ‘dervishes’ started to call: ‘I
give you my donkey! I give you my donkey!’
Obediently, Nasrudin echoed the refrain, and the tempo
was increased until he fell unconscious.
When he awoke with the dawn, Nasrudin found the robbers -
and the donkey - gone. ‘I thought I left you in charge of the
animal!’ he roared at his son.
‘Yes, Father. But when one of the dervishes came and took
the donkey I ran to you, and you were shouting, “I give you
my donkey!" so often in front of so many witnesses that I
realized that you had given him away.’